A Peculiar Kind of Work

    “Be Still, and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

I used to chuckle but now get increasingly frustrated by the penchant for television characters to always be rushing downing corridors as they discuss their lives or their cases or their situations, or whatever it is with which they are dealing.

It appears as if the ultimate panacea to the human predicament is simply to expend as much energy as possible and – Voila! – We will find that our problems are solved.  Solutions come as long as we are doing something, anything, but something.

Awaiting the Messiah

    It is said there was a pervasive whisper amongst horribly deprived Romans during the later stages of the 2nd World War that kept reminding them, “The Americans are coming; the Americans are coming!”

They knew that help was on the way.  The American GI had heretofore been a prospective, but now had become a palpable, reality on European soil by the mid- to later stages of the war.  He was real and they could all but touch him.

The Jews of yore patiently awaited the coming of the Messiah.  He had been promised as far back as the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and was typified by such luminaries as Moses and David.

Is There a Game-Changer in Your Life?

I tend to be ill-disposed towards anything that smacks of a trend, especially in the realm of language.  There are certain standards of grammar and definitions of words that have stood the test of time for reasons inherent to their existence. 

I hated it when people “partied” rather than attended one.  I loathed the day when individuals began to “dialogue” rather than to talk.  I all but go apoplectic when news-readers refer to “cops” instead of police officers.

(I sympathized with President Obama when Jon Stewart addressed him as “Dude,” rather than as “Mr. President”; I received the same from a teen-aged boy from whom I made a purchase last summer – I was disgusted!)

The Redemption of a Junk Culture

We are the greatest nation on earth, but we are producing so much junk it is almost surreal.  Western culture has been reduced to the bartering and selling and consuming of junk.  Frank language is applied to what is plain to see.

I really don’t want to write a negative piece; negative critiques are so easy and plentiful, but one can use the junk-infested society as a spring-board for something more positive and redeeming.  Let’s just say that even junk can be redeemed.

The old saying is that all that glitters isn’t gold, but there’s a lot of buried gold out there that needs to be unearthed.  Its restoration would do far more than restore a moribund economy.  And it would make a fabulous Christmas gift to our world.

A Holiday for Your Heart

    I don’t know which holiday is more earnestly received, whether Thanksgiving or so-called Black Friday!  We have passed through the both of them and they are now behind us, with Christmas looming ever larger on the horizon. 

Americans have traditionally placed a high premium on Thanksgiving as an opportunity to give thanks amongst family.  It remains the busiest insofar as traveling, but (I fear) not insofar as gratitude is concerned.

I reference Black Friday as a “holiday” with humorous sobriety, because gratitude appears to have given way to an extravagance of greed, a greed that helps to set a tone for the duration of the holidays.

Who Are the Thankful Ones?

Winston Churchill remarked that all of the other virtues are meaningless without courage.  I get his point, but would like to offer a modification:  All of the other virtues are meaningless without gratitude.

Churchill was living in a day during which darkness of a very malevolent kind was descending upon and across all of Europe.  The threat of Nazism cast a horrible shadow.  Men and women of good will would need to find the courage to do battle.

We live in a different era.  Yes, we are facing a foe that is thoroughly insidious in the form of radical Islam and, yes, the economic trauma of our day is fraught with devastation with the prospect of further devastation.  There is no question.

Who Are the Martyrs?

The word martyr actually means “witness.”  We are, in that sense, all martyrs, who follow Jesus Christ, certainly if we are sincere and deliberate in our discipleship and sense of witness.

Our persecuted brethren are witnesses for Christ in a very special way.  It is a horribly unpleasant (to put it mildly!) yet (by their own words) a joyful means by which to bear witness to the name and sovereignty of Jesus Christ.

They suffer for Him.  They count it a worthy honor to suffer for His Name.  Their sacrifice is graphic, their witness is profound and the fruit they bear is incalculable. 
They number over 200 million, of whom approximately 60% are children!

A Parallel Experience

We were conceived together, carried together, brought into the world together, nurtured and raised up together and will, somehow, remain indelibly linked for the remainder of our days – We are, you see, identical twins.

Brian was born, as was I, 49 years ago this month, the same day even, even if our respective entries into this world were separated by nine minutes, with his coming first – He grabbed my ankle and jumped out before I could respond, the bum!

So began our story, one that was, at least for the first eighteen years, a shared odyssey and, for the last thirty or so, a parallel existence.  One could do worse than live out one’s life with a twin entity such as my dear brother.

The Terrific Threes

    “What happened to you?” my lovely little grand-daughter is wont to ask me.  I reply, “Ah, my dear little one, it is a long and very sad story that left me just a shell of a man!”  She smiles and often asks repeats her question.           
She can’t possible understand the humor, not at a few days shy of three years of age, but she can recognize that my answer is humorous in nature because of the tone of my voice, but also because she is blessed with humorous instincts.

Amber’s humor is one of her loveliest charms.  She will turn three on Halloween and I pray that her humor, amongst other positive things, will only be enhanced as she lives out her fourth year of existence on this terribly-challenged planet.

“T” Is for Theodore

    “T” Is for Theodore  

“T” is for Theodore.  Someone once told me that his name was Ted or Teddie, but not Theodore because his mother couldn’t afford Theodore, only Teddie! 

The fellowship of First Baptist Church at Conshohocken can’t afford not to have another Ted, it being utterly irrelevant whether we can afford Theodore; we know we can’t afford our life and ministry without a brother named Ted Tarloski. 

I first met the brother in question at a funeral I conducted in late-2003.  He surprised me by showing up for church a few weeks later, right around the Christmas season.  And, wouldn’t you know, he stuck.

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